Sonar wars: Lowrance StructureScan 3D, Raymarine SonarChart Live & GoFree Hooked

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

6 Responses

  1. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Incidentally, the auto routing feature in Navionics Boating 8.1 (iOS) is vastly improved. While still not perfect, it may be the best available, MFDs included. And it’s now included in the app base price, no longer an extra purchase.

  2. Rick O says:

    Is Furuno totally missing from these wars? Given the competitive advantages (including state-of-the art searchlight sonar, first-rate down-looking fish-finder technology, 3D display technology, and network capabilities) it enjoyed, at least until recently, its marketing strategies may one day become a B-School case study. (From my perspective as a guy who, 6 years ago, chose a 3-unit NN3D black-box system with all the bells and whistles, and a CH-250 even though it could not be networked.)

  3. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    That’s a good question, Rick. Furuno is also the only one of the Big Four that hasn’t teamed with a distributed power and digital switching partner like Mastervolt CZone or EmpirBus.
    I’m a fan of Furuno hardware and TimeZero software, but just last week I took a call from a boatbuilder which illustrated the problem. His client for a sizable cruising boat likes Furuno but also wants an Interphase-like forward looking sonar like his old boat had. The builder is leaning toward a Simrad evo2 system as the right fit, and that made sense to me. Navico’s ForwardScan is at least as good as Interphase’s FLS (though without the horizontal option), fully integrated, and an easy low-cost add-on (especially on a new boat).
    I told him that I wouldn’t be surprised if Garmin and/or Raymarine come up with FLS options, but Furuno has shown little interest in these sonar niches. Maybe it’s because they are not commercial level, but then again Furuno almost offered a standalone FLS years ago…
    …and may have related patents:

  4. Phil says:

    To receive an invite to the GoFree Hooked beta test program, you can go to You will then be sent an email from Apple test flight to download the Test flight App and a copy of Hooked.

  5. Anonymous says:

    R.e. “It’s also easy to imagine how Hooked users who do run Lowrance and Simrad gear might eventually get their catch histories integrated with their Insight Genesis sonar records …”
    This is already possible with GoFree Hooked! The blog article at this link describes how:
    Here are a few excerpts from the article:
    “GoFree Hooked creates the first of many planned integrations between maps and apps for the Lowrance and Simrad communities. …
    “The location of any fish-catch you log with GoFree Hooked is automatically marked with a pin in the online displays of both your custom-made Insight Genesis maps and your personal view of Social Map charts.
    “Click on the pin to see all the details about the catch you logged with the app — species, weight, length, bait type and color, depth, cover and/or structure, etc. Those pins — along with your notes — can then be converted easily to a GPX file, saved to an SD (or micro-SD) card, and imported as waypoints into your compatible Lowrance or Simrad sonar/GPS unit.”

  6. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Navico’s free GoFree “Hooked” fishing app is finally out in Beta version (apparently it went back to Alpha right after I wrote about it above). Hopefully this is a case of “good work takes time”!
    It’s a phone app available for Android…
    …and iOS:

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